Get behind the wheel of vehicles you wouldn’t drive in any other career. Take your driving skills to some of the world’s most interesting places.
- SpecialisationLogistics and Administration
- LocationLinton, Burnham
Starting Trade Training$64,177
About the role
As a NZ Army Combat Driver you will operate all of our general service vehicles, from motorbikes through to articulated trucks. You will be a member of the Royal New Zealand Army Logistics Regiment (RNZALR), and within that you’ll operate in a Combat Service Support unit as part of a close-knit transport section (four to six vehicles).
You will be trained to operate your vehicle by day and night, in all weather conditions and terrain, from convoy driving on sealed state highways to tactical, off-road navigation. You will drive, operate, service and maintain your vehicles, gaining a range of licences, licence endorsements, and NZQA unit standards towards New Zealand Road Transport Industry National Certificates.
The New Zealand Army uses a huge variety of vehicles: motorbikes, cars, the Pinzgauer Light Operating Vehicle, the Unimog U1700L truck, the new technologically advanced family fleet of MAN Medium Heavy Operational Vehicles (MHOV,) and Heavy Equipment Transport (HET). You will be taught how to safely operate all these vehicles in all kinds of operational situations, such as passenger transport, distribution of supplies and hazardous goods transportation. You will also learn basic mechanic skills for operator servicing and routine maintenance.
Job on base
Your day to day responsibilities will be passenger transportation in a variety of scenarios ranging from community groups, VIP, humanitarian disaster relief, and driving soldiers to training exercises.
You will service vehicles and develop military driving skills such as tactical mobility and navigation, multi-vehicle convoy operations, driving in formation, loading stores and equipment, and vehicle recovery. You will also practise vehicle deployments and concealment of vehicles.
As well as your day to day Combat Driver tasks, you will also continue developing soldier skills including tactical operations, weapons, specialist soldier systems, medical and radio/communications training.
Job on deployment
Combat Drivers deploy on a variety of overseas deployments and postings with large contingents. Our regular taskings include ship off-loading in Antarctica (annually, usually Feb/Mar), and a six month deployment to the Sinai, Egypt, as a Combat Driver for the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO). Here you will work with other international forces driving heavy articulated truck and trailers between Sinai and Israel, moving supplies and providing logistics support.
Combat Drivers have also been deployed to East Timor, Solomon Islands and Afghanistan. While in these locations you could be driving infantry patrols and providing logistics support. When you are not doing your primary role of driving you will be doing your normal responsibilities as a soldier such as foot patrols and support to the local community.
The most memorable experience so far for me as a Combat Driver was helping the people of Kaikoura during the earthquake.
Career progression and training
Initially you will train as a Combat Driver, then progress to Driving Instructor and Section Commander positions. Although you initially remain within a specialised transport company, as you progress you may be posted to an embedded logistics section within other military unit, such as engineers or infantry. Here you may be employed as a Combat Driver, and as you gain more experience, a Fleet Manager in charge of 50 - 100 vehicles. You could also train to be a Driving Instructor where you will teach general and military driving and vehicle operation skills.
As your career progresses, you will gain experience in the different positions within the driver trade. You will perform military command and leadership duties, holding command positions within a section (around 7 trucks and 14 personnel).
Later, as you progress in rank to Sergeant, you could hold the position of Platoon Sergeant where you will be in charge of three transport sections, or Transport Sergeant where you will manage around 30-40 vehicles.
Up to this level opportunities and training to develop leadership and personnel management skills will enable you to become more effective within the wider organisation. As you progress further in your career you will begin to fill more strategic roles, gaining responsibility for transport compliance, procedures, and driver safety and training.
Upon successful enlistment into the Army you will be posted to Waiouru Army base. Here you will do 16 weeks of basic military training to find out if you have what it takes to be in the Army, and learn various subjects including:
- Organisation and Administration
- Army Customs and Protocol
- Drill and Parades
- Military Field Skills and Weapon Training
- First Aid
- Physical Fitness
RNZALR BASIC TRAINING
(2 Weeks) Location: Trentham Military Camp (near Upper Hutt)
During this course you will be introduced to basic RNZALR skills including:
- Understanding operational Combat Service Support concepts
- Operating in-service communications equipment
- Camouflaging and concealing equipment
- Operating vehicle recovery equipment
- Basic loading onto vehicles, and vehicle guiding
- You will also learn about all military vehicles and their functions.
DRIVER LICENSING AND VEHICLE OPERATOR COURSE
(8 Weeks) Location: Linton Military Camp (near Palmerston north)
This course will give you the basic driving knowledge you require. You will learn a variety of skills including on-road convoy driving, defensive driving, vehicle dynamics and off-road driving in light 4WDs and Unimog trucks. You will finish this course with a Full Class 2 (truck) licence.
RNZALR JUNIOR TRANSPORT
(6 Weeks) Location: Trentham Military Camp
Held at the Trade Training School, the Junior Transport Course will introduce you to advanced RNZALR driver skills:
- Vehicle Familiarisation on the MAN HX60 & HX58 MHOV (depending on the class of licence you hold on completion of the Vehicle Licence Operator Course above)
- Deployment as part of a transport organisation
- Helicopter under-slung load procedures and air delivered stores
- Tactical night driving
- Advanced vehicle recovery
- Navigation using in-service navigation aids
- Participation in Combat Service Support distribution procedures
Salary and benefits
Careers in the Army are well-rewarded, diverse and exciting. As you become more experienced and move up through the ranks, gaining additional skills and qualifications, your salary will rise accordingly.
Under Initial Training
Starting Trade Training
Future Potential Earnings
Figures updated on July 1st 2023
Benefits and allowances
Earn a competitive salary while training or learning your trade, along with additional allowances for time spent in the field, at sea, overseas, or deployed on operations.
In addition to salary and allowances, other benefits of joining the New Zealand Defence Force include:
Free and subsidised medical and dental care
Access to subsidised equipment on camp and bases
Subsidised food on camps and bases
Sponsored tertiary study programmes at all levels
Free access to gyms and swimming pools on camp and bases
Subsidised accomodation on camps and bases
Free and subsidised insurance cover
Help to buy a home and save for retirement
Opportunities to travel
Fitness and Medical
Period of Service
- You must be at least 17 years of age
- Meet the citizenship & security requirements to gain CV security clearance for this trade
- You will need a restricted Class 1 driver's licence and should have no traffic convictions. Any other licence is an advantage i.e. motorbike
Being able to show that you are a team player and have some mechanical ability will make you a more competitive applicant.
3 years secondary school.
Note, that qualifications may be used to assess trade suitability.
- You must be medically fit for service.
- Colour perception restrictions may apply
There are strict citizenship and security requirements to gain the required CV security clearance for this trade.
Find out if you’re eligible here.
A Return of Service obligation will be required after you have completed your training.